Wednesday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. 5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
-11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. 17 The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Paul’s concern for the spiritual well being of the Thessalonian believers causes him to speak in terms meant to turn the mind of the church from overexcited, idle hope, to the work of the apostolic church. He asks for the church’s intercessions on his behalf, now that his work is opposed and threatened by wicked and evil men. He also assures the church once more of the aid and protection of their faithful Lord and of his, Paul’s, confidence in their obedience. And he implores that the gift of love and steadfast hope flourish among them.
A last command deals with the disciplining of brethren who disobey the apostolic tradition (doctrine) and ignore the apostle’s own example by living lives of idleness at the expense of others. The church’s treatment of them is to remind them, forcefully yet fraternally, that they are by their disobedience excluding themselves from the fellowship of the church which the apostolic Word has created.
Paul dictated this letter and added a final greeting in his own handwriting as a seal of authenticity. This autograph conclusion is to serve as a mark of identification, should there be any doubt about the genuineness of the letter and the apostolic authority it carried.
We pray: O God, Who chose us to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth of the holy Gospel, we implore You to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishment we rightly deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.